Ex-United target Thiago's dad on decision which left him heartbroken

Mazinho, father of Thiago Alcantara - who snubbed Manchester United last summer - has spoken out on his son playing for Spain rather than Brazil.

From the very beginning of Thiago Alcantara's career, he has been at the centre of a tug-of-war.

While last summer it was Barcelona, Manchester United and Bayern Munich battling to have him under their employ for this season, at international level Spain and Brazil both could have laid claim to his services.

Thiago's father Mazinho played for Brazil, a member of their 1994 World Cup winning squad, and admits he is still heartbroken that his son plays for Spain.

Thiago had grown up in the country, training at Barcelona's La Masia youth academy, and Spain had seen his talent and moved to call him up as a naturalised citizen.

Keen to prevent this, Mazinho went to the headquarters of Brazil's football association, the CBF, only to be told the Selecao had no interest in calling up youngsters based overseas.

Speaking to Brazilian newspaper O Globo this week, he told how the move left him torn.

"I was very sad, disappointed. I was selected for many years and wanted my children to do the same. I am Brazilian, I am proud of my country. Those people are no longer in CBF, and Thiago can not play for national team."

Thiago is a two-time European Championship under-21 winner with Spain, and named in the senior squad last week by Vincent del Bosque.

Mazinho says he is preparing not to back his son if Brazil meet Spain at the 2014 World Cup.

"Look, I do not even want to think. I already have tickets for the final, but if Brazil vs Spain, do not go to Maracana. I'm going somewhere waiting for the end of the match. But deep down, I think I'll root for Brazil.

He has another son, Rafinha Alcantara, who remains at Barcelona, and was last month also linked with a transfer to Manchester United.

Rafinha played for Spain up until under-19 level, but has recently made the switch to Brazil, choosing to play at the under-20 South American Championship a year ago. 

It seems Mazinho won't be the only family member rooting against Thiago should Brazil meet Spain at the World Cup.

image: © castroquini2011

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